5th edition of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup returns to limelight in AlUla

Lifestyle Wednesday 07/February/2024 11:40 AM
By: Times News Service
5th edition of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup returns to limelight in AlUla

Muscat: The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup returns to the limelight in AlUla this week and audience anticipation is reaching new heights ahead of another fabulous weekend in the ancient oasis.

Organised by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) in partnership with the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) and Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF), the Endurance Cup is a flagship event in the global endurance circuit. Besides the world’s best riders, horses, and trainers all competing, there’s the largest prize money in endurance event history on offer – making this record-extending fifth edition unmissable.

With the wait almost over and the action about to begin, AlUla Moments has now given those attending even more reasons for excitement – detailing everything they can expect to experience during this “sensational spectacle”.

Rami AlMoallim, Vice President of Destination Management and Marketing at RCU, said: “With the 2024 Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup just days away, we can promise that this edition it will be incredible for everybody involved. This isn’t just a prestigious sporting event – it’s a special occasion where we bring sport together with culture, art, heritage, and entertainment for visitors to enjoy. Sporting events have always been about providing fun-filled moments, and this is precisely what people will experience this weekend. We have a sensational spectacle in store for all.”

Live from AlFursan Equestrian Village, 200 of the world’s best riders from 51 countries will embark on a 120km CEI 2* competition on Saturday in what promises to be the ultimate test of rider and horse against time and terrain.

With the coveted Endurance Cup awaiting the winner, participants must strike a balance between speed, stamina, and strategic pace management while chartering AlUla’s breathtaking yet challenging terrain. More of the same follows on Sunday. An additional 160km CEI 3* distance event featuring 67 riders launches the build-up to the eagerly awaited 2026 FEI World Endurance Championships in AlUla.

However, visitors can expect a lot more alongside thrilling displays of equestrian excellence and world-class enduring racing – with a series of events andactivations across culture, arts, entertainment, and morerunning concurrently on site.

Lovers of all things equestrian sports can lock in a series of interactive talks with riders, experts, and influencers in their diaries. Visitors can hear from speakers on a range of intriguing topics throughout the weekend, with six talks scheduled across areas including endurance racing history, horse welfare, AlUla’s unique endurance terrain, Arabian horses, and more.

Timeless classics back on the big screen

Across Saturday and Sunday, another exciting opportunity awaiting visitors is movie screenings from 6.30 featuring two horse world classics. There’s ‘The Story of Seabiscuit’ starring Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald. Widely considered to be the greatest horse race movie ever made, the 1949 hit follows the career of the legendary champion thoroughbred racehorse Seabiscuit – the top racehorse of the 1930s whose unlikely success saw him become a global phenomenon and enduring icon.

The other classic set for the big screen this weekend is ‘The Horse Whisperer’ starring Robert Redford and Kristin Scott Thomas. Positively received by critics and a box office success following its 1998 release, the film is based on the novel of the same name and sees Redford play a talented trainer (Tom Booker) with a remarkable gift for understanding horses. Booker is hired to help an injured teenager and her horse back to health following a tragic accident in this Touchstone Pictures masterpiece.

Entertainment for the whole family

The weekend entertainment at AlFursan Equestrian Village accommodates people of all ages – with a raft of diverse experiences in store. ‘Arabian Kohl’ is an activation where female guests can learn techniques for applying traditional Kohl from local makeup artists; ‘Henna Art’ is a cultural kiosk where guests can receive authentic henna face or hand paintings from skilled artists; and ‘Harmony Cultural Fusion’ is a transcendent live musical starring an ensemble cast of talented musicians.

Elsewhere on the entertainment line-up, visitors can experience horseback riding and kids pony rides, the rich and vibrant culture of Saudi Arabia through the mesmerizing beats of 10 talented Saudi percussionists, and up to three 20-minute shows daily as talented street performers present live juggling, unicycling, fire eating, and much more.

Visitors can also enjoy photo opportunities in traditional costumes against AlUla’s stunning backdrop, as well as a live set by DJ Leen, one of Saudi Arabia’s most versatile and popular DJs who has headlined various local and international events.

Additionally, those making their way to AlUla for the Endurance Cup weekend will enjoy an endurance-inspired exhibition space and a host of F&B offerings with brands like La Romana, Coyard, Osturi, and Pink Camel. They can also take in AlUla’s extraordinary nightfall setting from fireside spots and a desert camp with comfortable chairs and warm blankets.

On-site brands for all things retail will include OKHTEIN, Nouf Fetaihi, 1886, Surge, Le Monde du Chavel, AlUla FC, and Pattern – a concept store with items from a dozen brands.